“Most Hated” the highly anticipated debut novel by Real Housewives Of Toronto cast member and media personality Kara Alloway, will be released May 30th, 2023. Published by Canadian publishing house, RE:Books Publishing, “Most Hated” is a juicy and fascinating peek behind the curtain into the world of reality TV. Alloway’s contemporary novel will have you smirking, shaking your head, and laughing through the rollercoaster ride of female friendships, where no one sticks to the script.
Kara Alloway is a respected journalist, fashion magazine editor-in-chief, on-air personality, producer and a cast member of The Real Housewives Of Toronto franchise.
Alloway wrote “Most Hated” because she knows a little something of what takes place behind the scenes. The novel delves into the glamorous yet merciless world of reality TV. Alloway brings readers the inside perspective of someone who has been the reality TV villain and survived. “Most Hated” details what happens when six women join the cast of a reality tv show to try to change their lives. For those behind and in front of the cameras on Talk of the Town, make-ups, break-ups, and manipulation are all in the name of great entertainment. When real life blends with reality content, it’s hard to tell the salt from the sugar.
I had the opportunity to chat with Kara about her new novel, what reality tv is really like and more
Kat: The Real Housewives Of Toronto aired in 2017, so it’s been a few years since the show, what inspired you to write a novel about reality TV and share this story now?
Kara: I always wanted to write a story about female relationships, but I didn’t have a setting until I did Housewives. I knew it was the ideal backdrop for what I wanted to explore. It’s been a long work in progress, over many years, with loads of research to inform the characterization including some excellent books that delve into the components of female sociological behaviour. It’s not a calculated tell-all but rather a fun, light story with layers. There were some things from Housewives that required processing and what better therapy than the written word?
Kat: Was there anything challenging about writing this story, and if so, what did you learn in the process?
Kara: I had to remind myself to keep it light because it’s easy to get pulled into the weeds when you are writing six female characters. Also, the edit – there was much more I wanted to include but length became an issue. I heard Margaret Atwoood speak last week and she said, “You can’t put everything into a story or it would be endless.” Hearing that everyone must wrestle with the edit was comforting. I think that’s what prequels or sequels are for.
Kat: What do you hope readers take from the story?
Kara: The message is really about women relating to women: you don’t have to love or like every woman you encounter, but you do need to respect each other. Also, what seems to be such a hot topic these days – life on the grid vs life off the grid. I don’t want to spoil the book but within the pages there’s a debate as to which is preferable. You’ll have to go read it to see!
Kat: The novel is based around female friendships on reality TV, what did you learn through your research and time on the show about female friendships?
Kara: I learned so much about myself as well as females in general. Dr Phyliss Chessler’s book Woman’s Inhumanity to Woman really served to inform my characterization. As did Marilyn Yelom’s The Social Sex. As a second-generation feminist I’ve learned it’s not popular to talk about the friendly fire that exists within our gender but it’s necessary. We have to discuss in order to change and there are changes that need to take place. There’s a great deal of internalized misogyny that women toss at each other. We need to air that and stop it. It’s a necessary, albeit controversial, commentary on the ways women can be emotionally abusive to each other. There’s a tension that exists therein that’s at the same time baffling and relatable for any woman who has been betrayed or disliked by another woman. I was fascinated to learn that it all starts in the school yard with 8-year-old girls. That’s where we need to do the work.
Kat: Reality shows only continue to increase in popularity, can you share your thoughts on why there’s a faithful following for the genre?
Kara: I remain a fan of the genre. I do believe it’s distractive nature may find critics disqualifying it as purposeful art in the purest sense, it goes a long way to both comfort and satisfy and to that end, there’s a rationale for its existence. For some it scratches that itch to judge behaviour we may have internalized and not acted out because of social confines. Haven’t you wanted to toss a drink at someone at some point in your life? I have! We can watch others act out and then suffer the consequences of action and it’s like we are relating to them on some level. Then you bring in the aspirational elements like lifestyle and you have a winning formula. A journalist and I landed on another potential rationale once in a discussion as to why younger women watch Housewives specifically. Maybe if you are in your twenties and you see your path down the road includes a steady job, a marriage, children, and the fear of monotony creeps in because you think – “This is it. This is my only chance to be a crazy young thing.” But then you see these 40- and 50-year-old women behaving like college girls and you feel a little better. Like “Okay, it’s not all over now. There’s always something to look forward to.” It’s a theory but I think it has legs.
Kat: What’s next?
Kara: Well, there’s always more that needs to go on the page. I have a few ideas I’m working with at the moment. They all involve the characters we have already met in MOST HATED and what happened before this novel or after. And I have three reality tv show in development that I produced so I can’t say for sure what’s next but I can say “Stay tuned there’s more to come!”
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